#MeToo : Has social media become an all-you-can-eat abuser witch-hunt or modern punishment?

Social media has taken on the role of the police when it comes to naming and shaming abusers. Why? Has this become a society where every Tom, Dick and Harry is vulnerable to being accused or is social media empowering victims to speak forward and nobody quite realised how prominent sexual assault is – especially by those friendly faces we’ve loved for decades on our TV screens.

Last year the Ministry of Justice reported that fewer than 1 rape victim in every 30 can expect to see his or her attacker brought to justice. Only 1,070 rapists are convicted every year despite up to 95,000 people suffering the trauma.

Could these figures be the reason victims are shying away from police and instead turning to their computer screens to accuse perpetrators and, in turn, punish those they name and shame.

However, the main issue with this new #trend of confronting abusers online means that those who are wrongfully accused are not innocent until proven guilty but merely innocent until enough people share the post.

This radical movement, of sharing sexual abuse stories and naming abusers on social media, is a massive step forward for those who have felt unable to confront abusers in the past. However just as many people are reacting negatively to the notion claiming that it’s ‘too easy’ to people to falsely accuse. Without a judge to try a claim and find guilt many any deciding guilt, and innocence, on likeability.

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One sexual abuse victim found the courage to comment on this new trend, while remaining anonymous, and said:

“I have been sexually assaulted (and worse) twice. ”

 “During my first experience I had been at a party (my best friends boyfriends) with my friends when I was 17. I was seeing a boy and he left the party and my best friend left early as she had work I had no way of getting home so I stayed over with some other friends, my mates boyfriend said I could stay in his bed and he would stay on the floor, this did not happen.”

“He got into the bed with me but again we had shared a bed before they got together so I thought nothing would happen, but, as the night went on I felt forced to sleep with him and this is how I lost my virginity, I have only ever told a few friends because I am scared that if I join in #metoo on social media he (or others) will realise that I am talking about him and think I’m trying to get out of being the friend that slept with someone’s boyfriend.”

She also went on to add that victims coming forward on social media is not a witch-hunt but a positive thing:

I don’t think it is a witch-hunt. I think people are coming forward because they do feel empowered.”

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Image of girl courtesy of Imgrum.

As Margot Robbie said…

as individuals we are powerful but as a group as a force we are invincible

“…and I think that’s why people are coming forward because they don’t feel alone but then I don’t feel that I can come forward because of my experience and because I still have to act like I like these people if I see them on nights out etc.

“I know that if I came forward that wouldn’t be then end it would be as bad as it was when everyone found out that we had slept together.”

Scott Francis, 20, another victim of sexual assault agrees with this attitude and shared his views and experience on camera in a bid to empower others to speak out.

 

This radical movement is empowering victims so please, if you can, your voice.
Use your voice whether it’s screaming during an assault, sharing your experience on social media, talking to your best friend or calling 999.

10 comments

  1. I love that you mentioned about people using the #metoo to potentially spread false stories. I think that’s such a big worry with anything shared on social media. Some people tell stories just to get attention. Nonetheless, in witnessing #metoo shared by so many people (some who were even in my own social circle) I felt it really opened my eyes to just how common sexual abuse is! It’s insane, but you are so right; that’s the blessing behind social media is that so many people can become more aware!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! It’s shown just how normalised sexual assault has become but also how many around us have suffered and people just haven’t been made aware, so sad!

      Like

  2. I love how you mentioned that social media could allow a lot of people to share false stories. That’s definitely one huge downside to it. I am not going to lie though, seeing the #metoo shared by so many people (some that I wouldn’t have ever thought would deal with such a thing!) really opened my eyes to just how common sexual abuse is! Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece!

    -Courtney
    http://www.thecurlyanomaly.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is so sad, the hashtag has meant that everyone has had the chance to become aware of just how normalised sexual assault has become. Scary and so so sad.

      Thank you for reading the piece and joining the debate! ✨

      Like

  3. this was such an interesting piece to read. I feel so sad about the Ed Westwick situation, it upsets me so much that he might have done something like this. I am not even up to date with it yet, but I loved him in Gossip Girl.

    This post really made me think about what I see on social media and that I shouldn’t believe anything. One thing that has stuck with me for a while is that, people only show you/post what they want you to see and I think that is so important to remember

    Sophia xo // https://sophiaaaxo.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s difficult as people love his character but do not know him, they can all find it hard to accept when it’s someone they admire or are attracted to!

      I agree people only post what they are brave enough to share! That’s such a good point!

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting on the debate!

      ✨🐘

      Liked by 1 person

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